ABILENE, Texas — Two rescued bald eagles have arrived at the Abilene Zoo.
15-month-old Sparky and 16-month-old Leu came to Abilene after being rehabilitated at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida.
Donors helped facilitate a year-long process to renovate part of the zoo’s Elm Creek exhibit into Sparky and Leu's permanent home. It now serves as the Keith Garner Bald Eagle Habitat, named in memory of Abilene Zoological Society board member Keith Garner.
EagleWatch, an organization whose main objective is to watch nesting activity and current population trends of eagles in Florida, was actively monitoring Sparky’s and Leu’s nests when it was able to identify a need for help for them. They notified the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey.
Both bald eagles were rescued at approximately two months of age, evaluated and deemed non-releasable by US Fish & Wildlife Service because they were not able to fly.
“We are thrilled that after an extensive process of renovation and federal permitting we are bringing the first bald eagles to the Abilene Zoo,” Abilene Zoo Director Jesse Pottebaum said in the release. “We thought the upcoming Memorial Day weekend was the perfect time to introduce these majestic birds to the community, honoring those who have died in service to our country.”
Sparky and Leu are adolescent eagles, approximately one-year-old. A release from the zoo said while they are fully grown, they won’t get their white heads until they are five to seven years old.